Barcode use outside of retail

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The most common use and most understood application of barcodes is in retail. After the very first scan of a Wrigley’s bubble gum pack in 1974, the barcode quickly became synonymous with ease of check out in supermarkets and other consumer environments. But what other application do these optical-machine-readable-data-attached-to-an-object stripes have?


Although linked to security and more efficient check out, the barcode is in essence a tracking tool that can help you gain control. Barcode readers do not care what the barcode being scanned is attached to and so you can attach them to anything you wish to track. In addition to scanning the barcode, the reader can measure, capture and automatically associate a number of variables with the uniquely identified object. With mobile tech advancements in recent years, these variables have drastically improved and the scan of a barcode can now be associated, not only with the base data of the object referenced from a relational database, but the tech in the smartphone or tablet doing the scanning can be leveraged. Images, GPS co-ordinates, signatures etc are additional values that can be captured at a given point in time and recorded against the barcode and object. As more of these data capture moments happen over time a full electronic history grows allowing for a complete journey of the physical object to be recorded.

Here are some business applications for barcoding outside of the retail environment that you may not have thought of:

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